Happy Birthday… in the heat

A few months ago I was commissioned to make a cake for someone that was present at my mothers surprise birthday party.  She feel in love with the cake I made for my mom – The Ultimate Chocolate Cake with the chocolate Raspberry filling.

Her party was scheduled for the beginning of July and she wanted to have the Maxine character from the Hallmark cards because her name is….you guessed it – Maxine.

We set this up in May and the week of I called to make my final arrangements with her – getting the venue address, confirm head count, cake flavor (she decided on Red Velvet), and time of delivery.  I had been researching for the perfect Maxine picture online and even thought about printing the picture and caption on a sugar sheet to make my life easier.  The problem with that is the Hallmark Maxine is trademarked and you are not supposed to print her out without getting permission from Hallmark.  No company that I knew would print it for me and I have not yet purchased my printer for cake decorating (still doing research on that), so what was I going to do?  I did not inherit my fathers ability to draw (nor my mothers beautiful voice, but that’s for another time), but I had to put on my big girl panties and do this.  I started by drawing it on small piece of paper to see how bad it would be.  It was bad at all Surprised smile.  I might be able to do this free hand.

Friday rolled around – two days before the event and our air conditioning goes out.  We realize this when we return from dinner at 9:30pm!  I have to slip in there that the temperature had been 98/100 degrees for the past week and a cool down wasn’t expected until Sunday evening!  I had to bake two 12 x 18 sheet cakes the next day.  I knew I wasn’t going to ice or decorate until I got to the venue because it was too hot, but I still had to bake the cakes!

Saturday morning rolled around extremely hot and miserable and not a HVAC guy in sight.  I called my mother and asked if I could pack up and head over to her house to make my cakes.  She quickly agreed AND had my dad call a church friend how was a HVAC guy to see if he could check out our system.  My husband had found two guys, but one couldn’t get to our house until after 5pm and the other he ended up getting into a slight disagreement on the phone before he even made it to our house.  After I finished running my errands that morning, I came home and passed out in the hot house on the cool leather sofa underneath the ceiling fan.  I don’t know why heat makes you sleepy.  I dragged myself off the sofa and took another shower, packed up my supplies and headed to my mothers.  (By the time I dried off, dressed and loaded up my car I had sweated again and almost felt like I need to take another shower. Sad smile

We were keeping the pooch in the basement because it actually felt like it was air conditioned down there (we really need to get that basement finished….maybe that will be the next project).  She had already decided that it was too hot to be outside anyway and was happy to be down there.

The HVAC guy got to the house and was able to fix it.  Thank God for Chuck Taylor (I show a picture, but I wasn’t there when he was – baking that cake you know)!!!  The house ended up reaching the whopping temperature of 95 degrees and it took over 12 hours to cool it down to 78 degrees.  We stayed the night in a Holiday Inn Express.  I got up early Sunday morning and headed home to shower and head to my mothers to pick up my cake and get to the venue so that I could ice and decorate the cake.

You see folks when I was packing up things I needed for my cake I forgot an integral part of my icing and wasn’t able to finish my icing so I needed to get to my mom’s a little earlier than what I thought because I still needed to make the icing (don’t you hate it when you forget something?). 

My mother came with me to the venue to be my time keeper.  When you are decorating…well when I’m decorating I can lose track of time and I wanted to be away from the venue with a few hours to spare.  She did a great job of keeping me on time and I truly appreciate her for that.  Note:  I have to take a few minutes to give my mom MAJOR props.  She always volunteers to help me with my catering events.  She never asks for a fee (I usually have to hide the money in her purse or pocket) and she has learned to work with me.  If I was to say that I have a partner she would be it.  I LOVE MY MOMMY!  Now back to the cake.

I decided to start out with the Happy Birthday message first so that I could figure out the placement of “Maxine”.


Then with the help of some toothpicks I drew “Maxine”.  Once had everything completed my mother looked at it and said, we need something else.  So the border came about.  This was not the stiffest icing (the kind typical for decorating because of the heat and also this was the classic cream cheese frosting for a Red Velvet cake, I just didn’t want to make it too stiff.

My client loved the design of the cake


and I was told that the guest loved the taste of the cake so I’m happy to have another satisfied customer.  In hindsight I wish I had of taken a photo from the top of the cake so that I had a top view. 


In my defense I had been working for about 2 hours and was just happy to be finished.  I think fondant would have been better to work with in this heat, but again I needed the cream cheese icing and fondant does not come in that flavor – white chocolate but not cream cheese flavored. 

I was very proud of myself.  Another triumph for the Red Oven. Smile


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